Meet Antonio Perricone

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

On a drizzly Bank Holiday Saturday, I set off to the Southbank to meet Antonio Perricone, a seventeen year old A-level-student-come-photographer. We all take A-levels, but we don't all take photos like he does. We took shelter in the espresso bar of the National Theatre and ordered green and peppermint teas. I know, I know: how quaint. But spend idle days drinking herbal teas, he does not. Antonio had just finished an early morning shoot with up-and-coming musician Declan McKenna and was dashing around London, his camera as an extra limb. He lives out in the suburbs in Kent and 'wastes most of his money on train tickets'. 'Wait wait - let me finish this biscuit' he pleads, shoving more cookie into his mouth. What a diva!

A love/hate relationship with suburbia bleeds into all of his work: see empty tennis courts, rows of non-descript terraced houses, teens slumped on the curb. Antonio draws on pop culture's perpetual fascination with the suburbs: think Lorde ('We live in cities you'll never see on screen') and 'Palo Alto'. 'It's so overdone but so interesting. I love it - I love the suburbs', he says. I ask him whether he thinks his photography would have been different had he grown up in the city: 'Yeah, definitely. When I moved to Kent everything was quiet by 7pm... so you have to find your own things to do. And then you can appreciate how crap it is'. He captures his teenage subjects 'as they are: as teenagers' so keeps hair, make-up and post-production to a bare minimum. 'Unless they have, like, a massive spot on their forehead', he laughs.

Adolescence is that precious and monstrous limbo, still without real-world responsibility, but also without the Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card of some earlier years. Antonio's photos capture this fleeting space. Expect portraits of teenage angst and rebellion and you'll be disappointed. Bored rather than rebellious and idle over angsty, his subjects do not fit the cliché, nor do his portraits either romanticise or demonise adolescence. Teenagehood is neither fantasy nor nightmare, but something of a daydream - short but sweet. Softly lit, with hazy neutral colours, his photos have a nostalgic, dreamy quality. I'll be interested to see how his work evolves over the coming years as he and his subjects mature.

I ask to see his cameras and he empties his bag onto the table: out fall a couple of books and a journal brimming with scribbles, collage, and drawings. We leave the café and cross Waterloo Bridge, dodging puddles and splashes from the passing cars. We whizz round the Somerset House Courtauld Gallery, Antonio like a puppy in a pet shop. After some probing, he sheepishly reveals that one of his photographs just-so-happened to be displayed in Somerset House last month, after he made it to the top 50 of 173,444 entries in the youth category of Sony World Photography Awards. Topping that, he is soon to be featured in The Sunday Times' Style Magazine. 

So what's the master plan? I ask. He plans to apply for English Literature at university in autumn, but says he might still take a gap year: 'Alexa Chung says she took a gap year and it became a gap life. So that's the goal!'. 'But yeah I'd like to get a degree', he hastens to add.
 'My big plan is just to be able to afford a house and create stuff', he explains. Give it a few years and he'll be doing just that.

Check out his portfolio:
Follow him on Twitter:
And of course on Facebook:

Green Smoothie 101

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Now, I know you've probably seen endless green smoothie recipes floating round the blogosphere, but in my experience, finding one that is both cheap and easy is no easy feat. So I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, my flawless formula for making the perfect green smoothie.

You will need:

- 1 banana
- A handful of spinach
- A handful of pineapple or mango
(or both... go crazy!)

You can also add:

- Cucumber 
- Coconut flakes
- Any green powder
(like Wheatgrass or Spirulina)
- Berries
- Honey as a natural sweetener

Seeds and superfood powders are great for a boost of amino acids and protein, but they're certainly pricey - so don't feel you have to dash out and stock up. Rather, consider them an investment further down the line! Certainly don't stress about distinguishing your Maca powders from your Chia seeds; you need only 3 ingredients to make a simple green smoothie. If anything else tickles your fancy, throw it in! It's a free country. This is your life after all.

Cereal Killer Cafe

Friday, 15 May 2015

I recently visited Brick Lane’s latest tourist attraction, a speciality-cafe selling only cereal. Oh, and Poptarts - I beg your pardon.

In December 2014, the Cereal Killer Cafe opened its doors to the ravenous streets of Shoreditch. So the legend goes, Belfast-born brothers Alan and Gary, hungover and craving cereal, spotted a niche. ‘How about we open a café exclusively selling weird and wacky breakfast cereals?’ If we learn nothing else from their venture, it's surely inspiring to know that a stroke of genius, at 4am and tipsy, can not only survive the next morning but actually blossom into a tangible reality.

Cereal Killer Café became something of an overnight internet sensation. As my every feed was flooded with 
exclamations of 'omg I <3 CEREAL’, I thought it time to find out what all the fuss was about. Accompanied by my good friend Mingling, I hit Brick Lane. The staff were unanimously friendly and helpful, the cereal was delicious, and the whole cafe had a relaxed and retro vibe. Prices begin at £2.50 for a small bowl, which I think is perfectly reasonable for a novelty café in Shoreditch - and I'd far rather my money fall into the pockets of these entrepreneurial twins than into the claws of Starbucks. What's not to love? Hipster-hating killjoys, get lost: Alan and Gary are laughing their way to the fridge. 

(Wait, one more thing - i've literally just discovered that a new branch opened a few days ago in Camden! Pop over to their website for more info: I (sadly) haven't been sponsored to say any of this, by the way - but if you read this, Alan and Gary, treat me to another bowl, please and thank you?)
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